Bright sets sights on UAE

Kris Bright. Credit:

There are journeyman footballers, and then there is Kris Bright.

To say the New Zealander has experienced more in his career than most would be a massive understatement. Indeed his career odyssey reads more like a multi-part travel documentary than a football resume. Sixteen clubs, 11 countries and four continents over a dozen years, including nations as diverse as Finland, Malta, India and South Africa.

Now Bright is set for another stamp on his passport, and yet another new horizon.

The forward will be a key member of the Auckland City side when they venture to the United Arab Emirates in December for their latest tilt at the FIFA Club World Cup.

“My least favourite thing to do is to travel,” Bright revealed, though the smile in his voice is an acknowledgment of the knowing irony in that statement. “I hate flying, driving and going from A to B. I love A and B, but I hate everything in between.

“The highs were high, but the lows were very low,” adds Bright, reflecting on his experiences. “I could have given up but I was driven to keep playing.

“Sometimes it was great, and very exciting. Everyone thinks it is kind of glamorous, But it is tough as well. Making good friends and losing them again is tough. The problems aren’t really on the field, more so off it.

“My wife and I agree that our two favourite experiences were India and South Africa. If people just go with the flow in India, and accept it for what it is, they will have a great time. The people, and the food and the sights and smells, are unbelievable.”

It is perhaps little surprise that Bright’s career – which includes five caps for New Zealand – has featured so many twists and turns. While there have been numerous players down the years whose fathers have also represented the national team, few if any can speak of having had ‘two fathers’ who have played internationally – as is the case for Bright.

Father Dave played for New Zealand’s iconic 1982 side at the FIFA World Cup™, and his father-in-law is another All White, Chris Turner. Younger brother, Rory Turner, also represented the country at youth level.

“My dad [Dave] used to get up early and try and watch me play in Europe on the internet,” said Bright. “It was always nice to know that even when I was in a distant part of the world, he was watching. Finally now he can just go down the road and watch me at last, which is really cool.”

Auckland City are regulars at the Club World Cup, and are set for a record ninth campaign in the UAE. Despite their semi-professional status, the Navy Blues have more than held their own, memorably coming third in 2014 after pushing Copa Libertadores winners San Lorenzo to the brink in the semi-final.

Auckland will open this year’s tournament with a match-up against local side Al Jazira.

“Going to the Club World Cup is really something to tick off the list,” Bright says. “It’s being on the world stage, being a FIFA tournament, and playing against some of the best players in the world.

“We are training like we are professionals in the lead-up to the tournament. We are training more than I did at some clubs in Europe. The pull of the Club World Cup was a big lure for me, for sure.”

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